Gateway Newsletter Winter 2018
Robert Poteat Is Happy to Be Alive!
Robert Poteat is passionate about his work. He started working at the Hall in 1998 as the Manager of the Gateway house. Over the years, he says he has been blessed with the opportunity to inspire and encourage hundreds of men who have come through the Gateway transitional housing program.
Robert recalls his school days growing up in Mt. Airy, NC, and feeling like he never quite fit in. One day in middle school, a classmate asked Robert if he got high. At the time, Robert had never used, but he lied and said “yes” to join in with the group. That was just the beginning of using drugs to cope with the emptiness he felt inside. Using gave him the illusion that the void inside was gone, then the obsession and compulsion of addiction took over his life.
“I believe I was an addict long before I used the first drug. Once I started using, I couldn’t stop, or rather, I stopped when things got bad but I couldn’t stay stopped,” Robert explained.
At the age of 24, Robert found himself at the lowest point of his life. He had spent three and a half years in prison and suffered five drug overdoses, one which required him to be resuscitated three times.
“At that point in my life I was spiritually, mentally, and emotionally bankrupt. I cried on the way to my first treatment center and I told my mother I hoped there was another way to live, because I was sick of the mess my life had become.” He entered treatment in 1988, but his struggle was far from over. “I relapsed 14 times in 22 months. I didn’t understand that self-will and self-centeredness were at the core of my destruction,” Robert admitted.
“I learned that just quitting does not work. The only thing that stopped addiction from running over me is recovery, which for me is complete abstinence and spiritual growth.
I needed an active recovery program in order to manage addiction. I had to surrender. I used to think surrendering meant just admitting and accepting being an addict, but I missed the part about surrendering to recovery…like having a sponsor, a network of support, going to meetings, and living the NA way instead of my way.”
Once Robert decided to totally surrender to the recovery process, life began improving. “I told God, ‘I am going to do this 12-step program and if You ever want me to do something different, You let me know’,” Robert recalls.
Over the last 28 years, Robert has practiced a new way of living and knows he is answering his calling. He once heard a minister deliver a message about living life the give way versus the get way and it made a huge impact on how he lives life today. Robert looks for opportunities to give to others by sharing the wisdom he’s learned along the way.
By his side, Robert’s wife Angela, is his angel in recovery and in life. Last October, while out of state attending the Feast of the Tabernacles, a van struck Robert while he was crossing an intersection. The impact broke almost every bone on his left side. It took many moths and lots of hard work for him to be able to walk again.
“Angela came to Kentucky to be with me and slept on that little couch. I would not have made it if she hadn’t been there,” said Robert.
It’s no wonder when you greet Robert in the hallways and ask how he is doing, he is always quick to tell you, “I’m happy to be alive.”
Message from Mike
For starters, we’ve made many improvements to the Hall including a renovation of the front offices and lobby and the exciting addition of a REAL Hall Mall just inside the main entrance. Our new store offers a variety of Hall gear, like hats and t-shirts, as well as toiletries for our guests and many of the familiar books. Thanks to our volunteers, the Mall is open during the lunch hours Monday-Friday. So far, reviews for the new lobby are favorable, even from some who liked the old look!
This has been a year full of activity on our campus, including our legislative breakfast with guest speaker Josh Stein, North Carolina’s Attorney general, as well as workshops sponsored by the Poe Education Center and Recovery Communities of NC. We also hosted our first-ever Ride4Reovery in September with 35 enthusiastic motorcyclists with hopes of growing the event in 2019.
And we’ve been working outside too! The Gratitude Garden is nearly finished, with trees scheduled for planting in mid-December. It has been a spectacular addition to the grounds, providing a place for introspection and gratitude. With a wealth of memorials and honorariums, I can tell you from personal experience that it evokes strong emotions.
It’s been wonderful to witness our growing social media presence this year. Next year, we’ll be putting a lot of energy into engaging our Alumni across the state through our social channels and with gatherings planned in the Charlotte, Triad, Triangle, and Wilmington metro areas. Stay tuned to our Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter pages as well as our website for upcoming Alumni Gatherings. We hope that Alum will help lead the charge for the groups and be a source of support for those just coming out of treatment. Want to help? Call Warren Lowder for the scoop.
This year, we are thankful for the ability to provide treatment to our active duty members and their dependents through TRICARE as well as those we can serve through our new Partner Scholarship Program. We welcomed our first TRICARE guest on November 1st – and have seen two individuals go through treatment through the Partner Scholarship Program. We are looking to grow the number of scholarships we offer this year as well as adding to our list of community partners involved in the program. I am very excited about this.
As much as we have gained this year, the losses were also great. We are grateful for and remember those who are no longer with us, like my sponsor Jack C. of Danville, VA, a long-time volunteer for the Hall and our long-time employee, Scott Forrester, who passed away earlier this year.
As we approach 2019, excitement is the word! We’ll be moving the Gateway House to a newly purchased property near Hicone Road, allowing us to open our new long-term house for women in early 2019. This will be a wonderful addition to our campus.
Never a dull moment at Fellowship Hall! My hope for all of you is that the holiday season is everything you would like it to be. I remain grateful for the life recovery has provided me and for the work we do here at the Hall, every day, to help our guests and their families find that life for themselves.
Save the dates for 2019 Events!
For detailed information, click here for our events page.
January 7 in the Triangle, 7pm, Camel Club, Raleigh
January 9 in the Triad, 7:30pm at Fellowship Hall
January 16 in Charlotte, 6:30pm, Dilworth Center
January 24 in Wilmington, 8pm, Wilmington Intergroup
February 23 at Fellowship Hall from 9-11am
A Celebration of Fatherhood & Father Figures
February 24 Scrubs vs. Suits, 2:30pm at Page High School
April 28 Walk for Recovery, 2pm at Center City Park in Downtown Greensboro
August 2 E Raymond Alexander Jr Memorial Golf Tourney at Sedgefield’s Pete Dye Course
August 2-4 Recovery Weekend, FH’s Annual Conference at the Downtown Greensboro Marriott
September 21 Ride4Recovery, 10am Riding High Harley Davidson in High Point
NC Attorney General Josh Stein Visited Fellowship Hall
In September, Fellowship Hall hosted NC Attorney General Josh Stein as guest speaker for our legislative breakfast. Attendees included many local and state-wide elected officials who came for an update on the opioid crisis in our state and local community.
“The opioid crisis is the gravest public health and public safety crisis we are facing,” said Attorney General Stein. “We lost 2,000 North Carolinians last year to opioid overdose, a 25% increase over the previous year. We lost about 14,000 people in the last 20 years. This is the deadliest drug epidemic we have ever experienced,” he continued.
At the state level, North Carolina is combating the opioid crisis through the Strengthen Opioid Misuse Prevention (STOP) Act of 2017, with the intent of reducing the supply of unused, misused, and diverted opioids circulating throughout the state. It also works to reduce “doctor shopping” and improve care by requiring prescribers to use tools and resources that help prevent inappropriate prescribing.
“The opioid epidemic is tearing families apart all across our state. People are dying every day – and those who live do so in the despair of addiction. We won’t get out of this crisis quickly, but the STOP Act is an important first step,” said Stein. He urged the crowd to clean out their medicine cabinets often and properly dispose of unwanted, unused or out-of-date prescription medications. To learn more about proper disposal, visit NCDOJ.Gov/RXTakeBack.
February 14, 2019… Fellowship Hall’s Online Giving Day!
Help us provide the highest level of care to every guest through your online gift on 2/14/19! It’s a great time to share our story on your Instagram and Facebook pages – and help someone with their recovery. Keep an eye on our social pages and show Fellowship Hall your love!
We’ll Meet Again by Ogi Overman
For the past six or seven years, I’ve been privileged to volunteer at the E. Raymond Alexander Jr. Memorial Golf Tournament held each year on the first Friday in August. I usually dress up in one of my Donald Ross outfits (like the one pictured here) and ride around taking photos of all the foursomes. But this year I had broken my leg and was relegated to, well, dressing funny and encouraging the players in what looked like a very wet day ahead.
Tournament chairman Todd C. asked me to do the invocation before everyone teed off, given that the tourney’s namesake was one of my dearest friends and mentors. Obviously, I was honored to do it, even though I droned on far longer than I should have, particularly in the drizzling rain. I could’ve pared it down, but there was one segment I really wanted to stress: the part about how we are not only Raymond’s legacy but all the others on whose shoulders we stand. I named a dozen or so of my AA heroes who’ve passed on, stressing that one of the best ways we can carry the message is by showing the next guy the genuine joy of recovery. Indeed, “we are not a glum lot.”
Since then I’ve given more thought to the lessons I’ve learned in my 29 years of sobriety, and the men and women who passed them along to me. In times of quiet reflection, I can sometimes feel the myriad blessings wash over me, as if the spirits are saying, “Carry on, we’re just around the corner.” And as I inch inexorably closer to the end of this earthly leg of my journey, I find myself blurring the distinction between the living and the dead. Sometimes I even refer to the departed in the present tense!
Importantly, in these times I am not overwhelmed with sadness. Naturally, I miss those who have gone before me, but once the grieving process has woven its magic, I am free to remember them with fondness, gratitude and, yes, happiness. And that, in itself, is one of the blessings; that we don’t allow death to consume us to the point of precluding any future joy.
I often refer to the second part of the Serenity Prayer (and wish we would use it more often in meetings), particularly the last two lines: “That I may be reasonably happy in this life, and supremely happy with Him forever in the next.” Now, far be it from me as a humble philosophy major to attempt to improve on Reinhold Niebuhr, but sometimes when I’m reading it to myself I substitute “Him” with “them.” To me, that does nothing to diminish Him, meaning the God of your understanding, but to elevate them, meaning your loved ones in the spiritual realm.
If we have truly bought into the 12-Step way of life and given our hearts to the philosophy contained therein, there is absolutely no reason to fear death. Clearly, we are meant to live our lives fully, abundantly and with purpose. But, by the same token, we are meant to approach the inevitable with delight, not dread. For, as the hauntingly beautiful World War II song goes, “We’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when…”
FY 2018 IMPACT Report
September 30 marked the end of our fiscal year at FH. We are excited to share with you the progress we’ve made in providing quality treatment, at an affordable rate. For 48 years, we have been a leader in the treatment community – as the first specialty hospital in NC and today, as we practice the highest ethical standards and provide the best evidence-based care based on a 12-step philosophy. From the moment a guest walks in, they become part of our family – a group of people committed to supporting their long-term recovery.
In the last year, we’ve seen more guests than ever before with significant growth in our Primary Program, Intensive Outpatient Program, Family Program, Transitional Housing and Outpatient Services. And, we’ve revamped our Continuing Care Program to provide additional support to guests post-discharge.
We’ve also worked hard to expand access to treatment at Fellowship Hall, first by becoming an in-network provider for TRICARE to help our active military personnel and their families as well as the launch of a new Partner Scholarship Program to help those who lack the financial resources and health insurance to cover the cost of treatment.
We are committed to saving lives from the disease of addiction and serving as a resource for our community. We are grateful for the support of our donors, volunteers, and staff – all of which make our mission possible. Thank you for supporting our lifesaving work, we couldn’t do it without you.
Get your walking shoes on for the 3rd Annual WALK for RECOVERY!
When: Sunday, April 28 at 2pm at Center City Park in Greensboro
What: 3rd Annual Walk for Recovery to celebrate RECOVERY!
Who: All who are in and working on recovery with their family and friends, counselors – all of us!
How: Register online for this FREE event at FellowshipHall.com, then show up with your signs celebrating recovery
We want our community to understand that those suffering from Substance Use Disorder can get their lives back and live happy, healthy lives. What better way to show the world that recovery works, than to come together as living proof?!
This year’s walk will begin at Center City Park in Downtown Greensboro. The 1-mile walk will take us through downtown and back to the Park to share success stories and celebrate together. Resources will be available for those not sure where to turn for help. Make plans to join us and help build awareness for Recovery. We can’t wait to see you on Sunday, April 28.
Greater Greensboro Society of Medicine Alliance to Hold SCRUBS vs. SUITS Benefiting Fellowship Hall’s Partner Scholarship Program
You’re invited to the third annual Scrubs vs. Suits MD/JD Challenge to cheer on Greensboro’s doctors and lawyers as they play for bragging rights in a basketball showdown! The game’s real winner will be Fellowship Hall, a local nonprofit committed to helping people who suffer from alcoholism and drug addiction.
This festive community event will include a silent auction, concessions and activities for kids. Our first Scrubs vs. Suits event in 2018 raised $34,000 for Sanctuary House; our goal is to raise at least $40,000 this year!
In addition to a friendly competition between the doctors and the lawyers, the game will also pit UNC legend Phil Ford, who will coach the Suits for a second year, against Duke University legend Gene Banks, who will coach the Scrubs for a third year.
Scrubs vs. Suits is organized by the Greater Greensboro Society of Medicine Alliance, an organization of physician spouses dedicated to improving the health of our community through active involvement in health education and awareness promotions. The game is put on with the support of the Greater Greensboro Society of Medicine and members of the Greensboro legal community, who will be fielding the teams and providing volunteer assistance.
Fellowship Hall helps individuals and their families who are struggling with addiction to alcohol and/or drugs through a comprehensive program of residential treatment including detox, intensive outpatient services, and a robust family program to help loved ones understand the disease and recovery. Funds raised through Scrubs vs. Suits will specifically support Fellowship Hall’s Partner Scholarship Program, a new initiative to provide access to care for individuals who lack insurance and financial resources to cover the cost of residential treatment.
Sunday, February 24 at 2:30 pm at Page High School Gym, 201 Alma Pinnix Drive, Greensboro